Mini-dry port to facilitate easier international trade

When complete, the mini-dry port at Phuentsholing will enhance producing capacity, facilitate business and promote local produce in the international market, said the Economic Affairs Minister, Lekey Dorji, at the ground breaking ceremony of the port yesterday.

Lyonpo said that with the increase in the country’s trade volume from Nu 15bn to 102bn in 2016, which is a growth by 106%, the dry port construction is timely and needed.

“The government has prioritized for more infrastructural facilities in improving trade with other countries,” he said.

The dry port is expected to facilitate farmers in villages to market their agricultural products and contribute to the trade logistics systems since it is strategically located in the nation’s commercial hub.

Lyonpo said the dry port will also help decongest traffic in the core town area where all the consignment vehicles ply through the town at present. Further, it will facilitate customs clearance for all imports and exports entering the country through Phuentsholing. It will encourage one-window services thus mainstreaming all tax collection procedures. The dry port will discourage tax pilferages and promote an efficient and sustainable tax collection system.

The mini-dry port construction started from April 18. Japan based private company; Shitaka Marushin has undertaken the port construction.

Land measuring 5.4acres was handed over to the contractor on April 17. The 20-month long project when completed will house two concrete buildings for administration and service, a ware house, a weigh bridge, truck scanner and internal road connectivity.

Also, there will be a cargo badge accommodating up to 46 trucks in the port. There will also be different designated areas for imported and to be exported goods-carrying vehicles within the port.

The Asian Development Bank under South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Connectivity (SASEC) Road Connectivity Project is funding the Nu 134.856mn dry port.

Once complete, the present customs department will be shifted to the port providing ample space for other departments to physically verify and detain goods at the present office.

The new dry port will connect to the new bridge over Om Chhu, which ultimately connects to the main highway almost a kilometer away from the main town thereby decongesting the town apart from diverting heavy vehicles from the core area.

The port if complete will help the Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC) in clearing third country goods. Currently, the transit and checking is done at the DRC’s regional office in Phuentsholing. A first of its kind scanner will be installed at the port to scan hazardous goods entering the country. Also a covered transshipment shed, warehouse for seized and dangerous goods, cold storage and manual inspection platform will be built inside the port. While the Thromde will monitor the construction of civil infrastructure, DRC will be the end user of the port including Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority and the trade department.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing